Eager to contribute to the world of science, Year 12 student, Annabel Grosser shared her experience of the Australian Science Olympiad Summer School (AOSS) with us. Annabel joined a small cohort of exceptional students from across Australia for this intensive and challenging experience; out-performing 4,000 students in the Stage One AOSS Examinations to earn her spot. 

The two-week program aims to teach the thirty students selected for each of the four disciplines (Physics, Chemistry, Biology or Earth and Environmental Science) in preparation for the International Science Olympiads, from which four students from each area are selected to represent Australia.

This incredible opportunity saw Annabel receive intensive tuition from a team of Biology specialists.

“Usually held at The Australian National University, the program went online this year, owing to COVID-19 restrictions. Although the experience (and smell) of the fish dissection wasn’t quite the same over Zoom, the lecturers and tutors worked tirelessly to put together an engaging, interesting, and memorable fortnight,” Annabel said.

“With a schedule covering the equivalent of first-year university studies, the pace and workload was intense yet rewarding. Over the two weeks, we completed around thirty lectures, which were typically three hours long, though there was the odd marathon lecture, like six-hour embryology, which gave me far more knowledge about sea urchin gametes than I suspect I’ll ever use," she said.

“Although the program is intended to train us for the International Biology Olympiad, there were plenty of opportunities to pursue our interests and get answers to questions unanswered by our high school curriculums.

“A highlight of the experience was getting to know the other students, discovering how similar our interests and experiences are.

“The daily tests and two full-length practice exams weren’t exactly highlights of the experience, but they were certainly a valuable learning opportunity and put school exams into perspective!

“I’d also like to thank Mrs Thomas for arranging for us to complete the selection exam, and helping with the application process,” Annabel said.

Head of Science, Michelle Thomas congratulated Annabelle on her selection for the AOSS. 

"I was delighted upon learning that Annabel had been invited to attend The Australian Science Olympiad Summer School as a result of her outstanding performance in the examinations," Mrs Thomas said.

"Our students continue to impress me with their dedication to their studies and impressive results. I was encouraged by the excellent results our Class of 2020 Science students achieved across the Science subjects. 83% of our Chemistry students achieved an A grade and 77% and 73% in Biology and Physics respectively. We take a great deal of pride in what the students and teachers have managed to achieve," she said.

2020 Science graduates have done their teachers proud as they go on to their tertiary studies. Among the cohort is Rachel Yang who has accepted an offer to study Medicine at Cambridge University in the UK, Genevieve Hughes — Engineering at the University of Queensland, and Amelia Mackie who has achieved provisional entry into Medicine at the University of Queensland and will shortly commence three years of study in a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biomedicine, after which she will achieve her direct entry.

Current Science students at Somerville House have the opportunity to —

  • undertake an internship with the Children’s Centre for Health Research 
  • attend the UQ Young Leaders Conference
  • attend Senior School Science Help Tutorial Sessions
  • sit examinations for the Australian Science Olympiads Summer School
  • become a UQ Science Ambassador
  • ICAS science competition in Years 7 to 11 
  • Science Olympiad competition in Years 10 and 11
  • Brain Bee competition in Year 10 with the Australian Neurological Society

Science Enrichment activities:

  • Science CREST awards from CSIRO in Year 8 
  • Rube Goldberg Machines enrichment project (as part of the Machines unit) in Year 7
  • Tall Poppies – Women in Physics

This year students will also be involved in: 

  • Titration competition
  • RACI international chemistry competition
  • Griffith Chemistry National Science Week Activities

To learn more about Science at Somerville House, visit somerville.qld.edu.au/learning/science